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US allocates $50m to support ethnic, religious minorities in Syria

US President Donald Trump talks to reporters while welcoming NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the White House April 02, 2019 in Washington, DC. On the 70th anniversary of the trans-Atlantic alliance, Trump and Stoltenberg are due to hold a bilateral meeting to discuss it successes and its 'evolving challenges,' according to the White House [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

US President Donald Trump yesterday approved $50 million in aid to support institutions and organisations that protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Syria.

“This funding will provide emergency financial assistance to Syrian human rights defenders, civil society organisations, and reconciliation efforts directly supporting ethnic and religious minority victims of the conflict,” the White House said in a statement on Saturday.

Funding will also be allocated to increase accountability, remove explosive remnants of war, enhance community security to help achieve stabilisation, document human rights and international law violations and support survivors of community violence and torture, the statement explained.

The statement called on international and regional partners to continue to contribute to safeguarding the freedom and security of ethnic and religious minorities as they represent a top priority of the US administration.

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 The funding will, the statement pointed out, be sent to institutions and organisations defending human rights and civil society organisations and institutions that take care of rehabilitation operations in Syria, without giving further details.

The financial support announced by Trump to minorities in Syria is an apparent attempt to counter criticism following he ordered US forces pull out of northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish military operation against Kurdish YPG militias on Wednesday.

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